Snow Dancing in Alaska

Check out  this video of Lee in Fairbanks dancing to BeyoncĂ©'s "Single Ladies" in the snow!

Queerty commented that Lee dancing in tights in the snow is "all kinds of crazy considering a.) it's Alaska b.) it's 2 degrees and c.) Sarah Palin is out there somewhere."

Lee, based in Fairbanks, is a 24 year old professional ice skater who tours with Disney on Ice, according to his MySpace page. In October, he skated to Celine Dion's "Fly" between periods at the UAF vs. Mercyhurst game.

You go, girl!

This Week in GLBT Alaska 11/28/08

Check out this week's events from Alaska GLBT News.

For full listings, news and up-coming events, subscribe to AGN, the weekly email newsletter.

Monday, December 1, 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, when individuals and organizations around the world bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. 

AIDS organizations in Anchorage and Fairbanks are holding candlelight vigils on Dec. 1, along with celebrations of life.

Cosmic Bowling at the Juneau Bowling Center with SEAGLA, 11/29, 8-10 p.m.

IAA's 20th Anniversary & World AIDS Day 12/1, 6:30 p.m. at the UAF Salisbury Theatre.

Four A's World AIDS Day Vigil & "Rent" 12/1, 6 p.m. at the Alaska Wild Berry Theater.

MILK opens today in the Lower 48

UPDATE: MILK is opening in Anchorage on Friday, Dec 12 at the Century (a Mormon-owned theater.) For more about this controversy, see Gay Movies Come to Anchorage.

The movie Milk, about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected politician in the U.S., opens to select audiences (not us) today, one day before the 30th anniversary of Milk's assassination. It opens in many more cities on Dec 5, and opens everywhere else on Dec 12. It looks amazing!

If you know when and where Milk is showing in Alaska, please leave the info in the comments.

Two Gay Thanksgiving Meals in Anchorage

We have much to be thankful for this year. To help us celebrate, there are two free LGBT Thanksgiving meals in Anchorage this week: Thanksgiving Eve at Mad Myrna's, and Thanksgiving Day at the Community Center.

On the Eve of Thanksgiving, join EVE'S Family and Friends for a GLBT Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Wednesday Nov. 26 at Mad Myrna's. The dinner begins at 5 p.m. and is free. The Thanksgiving menu includes turkey, spiral ham, prime rib and all the trimmings. Just bring a friend and be hungry.

The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Anchorage (GLCCA) is hosting an open house on Thanksgiving Day, and a complete Thanksgiving meal will be served from 2 to 4 p.m., with desserts out until 6 p.m. Join the LGBT community in giving thanks for having such a great facility, and sit down to a good meal and friendly conversation.

Besides two free Thanksgiving meals in the company of LGBT Alaskans and our friends, what else are you thankful for this year?

World AIDS Day, December 1, 2008

Monday, December 1, marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, when individuals and organizations around the world come together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. While we have come a long ways since 1988, there is still much more to be done to fight the disease and its stigma.

AIDS organizations in Anchorage and Fairbanks are holding candlelight vigils on Dec 1, along with celebrations of life.                                                 

Anchorage Paints the Town Red

On World AIDS Day, the Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association (Four A's) holds events and activities to create awareness and educational opportunities for the community. This year's theme is Paint the Town Red: Wear the Original Ribbon. They're distributing free red ribbons for everyone to wear on December 1.

Over 200 organizations and businesses will have cans full of free red ribbons beginning November 25. Check the list of Anchorage locations and pick up your ribbons today. To have a paint can of ribbons at your business or organization, contact Chrissy at Four A's.

On Monday, Dec 1, join Four A's at the Alaska Wild Berry Theater (5225 Juneau Street) for the Annual World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil at 6 p.m., and a free showing of Rent at 7 p.m., with live entertainment by TBA Theatre.

IAA Celebrates 20 Years in Fairbanks

On Dec 1, the Interior AIDS Association (IAA) is celebrating their 20th anniversary and World AIDS Day at the UAF Salisbury Theatre. The evening includes dance and theater performances and a speaker starting at 6:30 p.m., followed by a candlelight vigil at 8:30 p.m.

Protest Photo Wrap-up

Alaska contributed to the nationwide Join the Impact protest on Nov. 15, and we have the pictures to prove it!

The Anchorage rally was held at the Atwood Building, outside Gov. Palin's local office. Watch Stef's video clips of the Anchorage protest.

Some of the links below are reposted from the Anchorage protest article and Fairbanks protest article, because several people wrote to ask where they could see more photos.

Photo sets of the Anchorage protest

from Perpetual Emptiness (aka lilyfluffbottom): Anchorage, AK 11/15/08
and from Join the Impact: the Alaska page.

Photos of the Fairbanks City Hall protest are posted on the Facebook page Protest Prop 8 in Fairbanks.

Thanks for the photo and video links, and a big "Thank you" to everyone who participated!

This issue isn't going away, so stay tuned for more national marriage equality news and events.

Human Arch Reflects Love and Acceptance for All Families

"Jump the Broom" celebrated love and acceptance with over 130 supporters on Oct 5th in Juneau, and $1300 was raised to help keep marriage legal and equal in California. Our $1300 doubled into $2600 when it was matched by another donor on arrival in California. Beyond that, some of you donated on line, and the total generated was well over $3000.

Thanks to so many of you who came hours early in your party clothes and helped set up. To those of you who created yummy potluck items, brought fabrics, table cloths, silver party favors, and rainbows galore, thank you.

It was truly a lifetime highlight walking through the human arch of love and acceptance. To all the broom jumpers, all the celebratory dancers and arch makers, your love and support are tenderly held.    

Some have stopped us on the street since, asking if we can make this an annual activity. It's not a bad idea to celebrate and be reminded of love, acceptance and equality on a regular basis!  

Sadly, our nation lost the right for all couples to marry in California on Nov. 4 with the passage of Proposition 8. (Stay tuned at,, and for ways you can help fight this discrimination.) 

So we may need to do that arch of love and acceptance again and again, letting it grow until all are included and equal in our nation. If any of you want to plan the next one in Juneau, or one for your community, we'd be happy to share our expertise. Perhaps we can have arches of love and support all over our state in 2009, or all over our nation.

Eighteen years ago, when we first married in California with no legal significance or recognition, our Dads were still alive and one of them said, "What we wish for you, is that barriers will fall away for you and people like you, and that you may have all the love you have for one another reflected back to you, all the days of your lives." 

His words were a cherished wedding gift. Now, dear Juneau friends, and supporters and family, you have given us a reflection of that love, a very powerful gift, keeping the words of Frank Longworth alive and believable, even at this very tender time. Thank you. 

We are grateful to all of you. 

Mo and Lin, 
Juneau, Alaska

 - Photo of Mo and Lin just legally married at San Francisco City Hall, Sept. 15, 2008, exactly eighteen years after their original (non-legal) wedding. Congratulations!

This Week in GLBT Alaska 11/21/08

Check out this week's events from Alaska GLBT News.

For full listings, news and up-coming events, subscribe to AGN, the weekly email newsletter.


SEAGLA Social Fridays 6-8 p.m.


"The Laramie Project" Play and Discussion at Theatre UAF, 11/21-11/23

"Live and Let Live: The Local Context of The Laramie Project," a community discussion after the 2 pm matinee on Saturday 11/22 Theatre UAF

Fairbanks Meet n' Greet with the ICOAA 11/22, 5-6:30 p.m. at Bobby's Downtown


Ever Ready in Eagle River & Indian, 11/21 & 11/22

Black Ball - A Fetish Party 11/22, 9 p.m. at Mad Myrna's. A fundraiser for Mr. International Bear 2008.

Trans Support Group, Sundays 4-6 p.m. at the GLCCA

EVE's Community Thanksgiving Dinner 11/26, 5 p.m. Mad Myrna's. FREE

Hump Day Happy Hour, Wednesdays 5-7 p.m. with TLFMC

GLCCA Thanksgiving Day Open House 11/27, 2-6 p.m.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is the 10th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance, commemorating transgender people who have lost their lives due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.

The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 inspired the Remembering Our Dead web project and a candlelight vigil.

Unfortunately, another trans person was murdered just this week for being trans and gay, Teish Cannon of Syracuse, New York.

Others being remembered this year as part of Transgender Day of Remembrance include Lawrence King of Oxnard, Calif., a 15-year-old boy who liked to wear women's clothes and was shot in the head by a fellow classmate; Simmie Williams Jr., 17, shot in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. wearing women's clothes; and Angie Zapata, 18, of Greeley, Colo., brutally murdered by a 31-year-old man who became enraged when he learned that she was a biological male.

Locally, MCC Anchorage held a Transgendered Day candle lighting service last Sunday.

Richard LaFortune, a Native Alaskan member of the Yup'ik tribe, spoke yesterday at Washington State University about 'two-spirit people,' American Indians with both a male and female spirit. LaFortune helped organize the International Two Spirit Gathering, an annual gathering of LGBT Native people that occurs in late August.

Video of the Anchorage Prop 8 Protest

Check out the video of the Anchorage, Alaska 'Join the Impact' rally protesting the passage of Prop 8! The rally was held on Nov. 15 at the Atwood Building, outside Gov. Palin's local office. 

Thanks to Stef for taking this video. Watch his other clips of the Anchorage protest.

Senator-Elect Mark Begich's Record on Gay Issues

Democrat Mark Begich defeated Republican Ted Stevens to become Alaska's new senator!

"We are jubilant at the Begich headquarters!" said Stef Gingrich, a campaign volunteer. 

When Mark Begich was on the Anchorage Assembly, he was the principal sponsor for the temporarily successful effort in 1993 to add sexual orientation to the city's non-discrimination ordinance, according to Gingrich. He also helped to obtain funding for Out North

As Mayor of Anchorage, Begich spoke at the Pride Conference, visited the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Anchorage (GLCCA), and came to the Celebrating Diversity Parade and Pride on the Parkstrip. This year, he read the Anchorage Pride Day proclamation from the stage, his son standing next to him. 

In 2005, when the Alaska Supreme Court ordered the state and the Municipality of Anchorage to offer benefits for employees with same-sex partners, Begich supported the ruling and implemented the benefits for city personnel.

Begich promotes Diverse-City events that "combat bias and promote a respect for diversity," including sexual orientation. He appointed members of the LGBT community to the Equal Rights Commission, and has several members in his mayoral administration. 

Many LGBT Alaskans worked on or contributed to Mark's senate campaign, and 90% of us voted for him, according to a Bent Alaska poll. He also has the support of the Human Rights Campaign, a national equal rights group.

In contrast, Senator Ted Stevens usually voted against us. Stevens, who was recently convicted on all seven felony counts in his corruption trial, had a mostly anti-gay record, voting twice for banning same-sex marriage, and voting against adding sexual orientation to job discrimination and hate crimes legislation. Stevens received a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign in 2006 and 2004.

Congratulations to Senator Begich and to all who worked on his campaign!

"2, 4, 6, 8 ..." Prop 8 Protestors March and Chant in Downtown Anchorage

About 110 supporters of same-sex marriage protested Prop 8 in front of Sarah Palin's Anchorage office on Saturday, Nov. 15, driving from as far as Seward and Wasilla to participate in southcentral Alaska's Join the Impact rally.

Two men carried signs with photos of their California wedding, and two women brought copies of their marriage certificate. 

The first group of protestors arrived at 9:30 a.m., to coincide with the 10:30 west coast/ 1:30 east coast protests in the nationwide event. The main Anchorage protest began at noon.

"The turnout and energy at the demonstration today was great," said organizer Stef Gingrich. "I thought it really took off when people started marching and chanting. It was very inspiring... we got a lot of good reactions."

The march was spontaneous, perhaps an effort to stay warm in the light snow and hail. The protestors marched from the Atwood Building to Fourth Avenue, carrying a big rainbow flags. They marched through Town Square to the park in front of the old city hall, then took a long detour to the current Anchorage City Hall. They chanted as they walked, and two marchers beat on Eskimo drums. When they returned to the starting point, the protestors set off again on a longer circle.

Several who could not attend sent messages of support, saying they were 'there in spirit.' They hung posters in the windows of their home or car.

We also received a message from Scotland. "A small group in Edinburgh, Scotland march
ed and protested outside the US Consulate General in solidarity with our friends in the US," wrote Rev. Johnathan, former pastor of MCC Anchorage. "Afterwards a few of us had coffee and I shared with them the political climate in Alaska. We are with you!"

Photos and News

Alaska contributed to the nationwide protest, and we have the photos to prove it!

Here is a photo album from Elias: Anchorage Equal Rights Rally/No on Prop 8 Protest, a gallery from Blue-in-AK: Anchorage Proposition 8 protest, a set from Yksin: Protesting Prop 8, Anchorage, AK, 15 Nov 2008 and set from Perpetual Emptiness (aka lilyfluffbottom): Anchorage, AK 11/15/08.

The Anchorage Daily News wrote a story about it, although they underestimated the number of protestors:

"In Anchorage, between 50 and 100 people gathered in front of the downtown Atwood Building holding signs in support of same-sex marriage. Some chanted "Gay, straight, black, white - marriage is an equal right." The group marched to nearby City Hall, then back again to the Atwood Building, which houses many state offices, including the governor's when Sarah Palin is in Anchorage.

"No citizens have the right to vote away other citizen's rights," said organizer Stef Gingrich, in a later phone interview.

"In Fairbanks, about 30 people showed up in below-freezing temperatures and stood in front of City Hall for about 45 minutes, said organizer Kristen Magann."

Both Channel 11 and Channel 2 reported the protest on the local news. (Does anyone have links for these clips?)

Photos of the Fairbanks City Hall protest are posted on the Facebook page Protest Prop 8 in Fairbanks, and the Daily News-Miner has a story.

Our protests were also news outside of Alaska. The Denver Post mentioned both the Anchorage and Fairbanks protests, and the Los Angeles Examiner linked to the ADN story.

Were you there? Share your story of the protest in the comments.

Photo credits: top - Kirt & Roger, middle two - Kristina Vaughan, bottom - Koala. Thanks!

Fairbanks for Equal Marriage: Prop 8 Protest at City Hall

About 30 supporters of same-sex marriage demonstrated in front of Fairbanks City Hall and marched in the light snow on Saturday, probably the farthest north location to join the national protest against Prop 8. Irina Rivkin, a lesbian singer/songwriter from California, performed at the protest.

"[Irina] wrote a skit about 'octogenarian marriage,' equating it with the gay marriage debate (the joke being that eighty-somethings can't have kids, and a lot of people are grossed out by eighty-something sex)," wrote ORBITALDIAMONDS. "Then she sang a song about bringing her girlfriend home to her conservative Russian mother, who eventually came to like the girlfriend, and it made me cry."

Were you there? Tell us about it! There are photos on the Facebook page Protest Prop 8 in Fairbanks, but the only posted article is from the Daily News-Miner:

"The Fairbanks protesters eventually marched down Cushman Street to Airport Way to wave signs, [Kristen] Magann said. A couple of protesters performed a skit and one sang a lesbian love song.

"We didn't meet with any adverse attitudes except from a cabbie who asked if we were supporting 'real marriage,'" Magann wrote in an e-mail later in the day.

"When the protesters told the cab driver that they were advocating for same-sex marriage, the driver sped away, Magann said.

"At its height, 32 people participated in the Fairbanks demonstration."

After the protest, Kristen wrote this message on the Facebook page:

"Thank you thank you thank you for coming out and showing your support for equality today! We had such a good turnout and I hope you are all as inspired and pumped up about the movement as I am. Just because the protest is over, the struggle is not."

Please share your story about the Fairbanks protest. (Post it in the comments.)

Juneau's "Mobile" Prop 8 Protest

All three of Alaska's main cities are participating in Saturday's protest against Prop 8!

While Equal Rights supporters in Anchorage and Fairbanks hold Fight the H8 protests, Juneau NOW and their friends are holding a 'mobile protest' in solidarity:
I would like to be part of this national day of protest. So here's the plan and I hope you'll all join me. I'm going to put a sign in my car window and be a sort of mobile protester as I do my Saturday errands and schlep my kids to and from soccer games. I've attached my sign and would be honored if some of you want to use it and join me. Or you can modify it as you please, or make your own. You can find other suggestions at Join the Impact

Please spread the word.


I'll honk if I see you!

Anchorage and Fairbanks Fight the H8, Protest Prop 8!

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and straight citizens will take to the streets of ANCHORAGE and FAIRBANKS on Saturday Nov. 15, 2008 to protest the passage of Proposition 8, California's anti-gay marriage amendment, and the lack of LGBT equal rights in Alaska.

Tens of thousands of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people and our allies have taken to the streets to show outrage with the outcome of California's Proposition 8. Prop 8 is a Constitutional Amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage, taking away a right that was granted before the vote. Same-sex marriage bans also passed in Arizona and Florida. The outcome of these propositions has angered the national gay community and our supporters. Many feel as if they are second-class citizens, but the fight is not over.

On Saturday, November 15, the LGBT community and their supporters will take to the streets in what could be the largest organized Protest since the Civil Rights Movement. To date, more than 250,000 individuals have pledged to take part in the nationwide event and descend upon the City Halls, State Capitols and the Nation's Capitol to make their voices heard. Signs, posters and numerous websites have already been created and the word is spreading quickly throughout the nation. lists protest locations in all 50 States and the District of Columbia. 

The message is simple, yet profound: Equal Rights for All. 

The organizers of this nationwide event stress that these will be peaceful demonstrations. "Let's move as one full unit, on the same day, at the same hour, and let's show the United States of America that we too are United States citizens equal in mind, body and spirit and deserving of full equality under the law." 

The Protest / Movement is scheduled to take place across the nation at the same time: 1:30 PM Eastern, 12:30 PM Central, 11:30 AM Mountain and 10:30 AM Pacific on Saturday, November 15th, 2008. Those interested in attending this historic event may find their local protest location by visiting: 


WHAT: Prop. 8 Protest - Equal Rights

WHO: LGBT and straight citizens who support Equal Rights

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008; at 12 Noon*

WHERE: 550 W 7th AVE, ATWOOD Building 

*We are not the only city holding the protest at a different time. But if you feel that it is important to be there at 9:30, then go and make your voice be heard! (and stay for the noon rally if you can.) Thanks.


WHAT: Prop. 8 Protest - Equal Rights

WHO: LGBT and straight citizens who support Equal Rights

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008; at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE: 800 Cushman Street, CITY HALL

Anchorage Fight the H8 Protest, Nov. 15

UPDATE: The organizers called the protest for NOON, and sent the press release to the media. We are not the only city holding the protest at a different time. But if you feel passionate about being there at 9:30 or cannot join us at noon, then go and make your voice be heard, more power to you! (and send the photos to Bent Alaska.) Thank you.

On Saturday November 15th, people in cities all around the U.S. are coming together to take a stand for equality. To date, more than 250,000 have made the pledge to take part in this national protest. Join the movement! For more information visit

The Anchorage Protest

We are protesting in front of the Atwood Building, 550 W 7th Ave. between E and F Streets. Please bring a sign and DRESS WARM. Spread the word!

We are protesting for EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL, and this is a peaceful protest. Sign ideas here:


If we follow the national movement and hold our protest to coincide with all the others, we would hold it at 9:30 a.m. in Alaska. However, the last time we held a protest early on a Saturday morning, people said the same thing but did not show up early! Many showed up around noon, after the early group left. So this time, maybe we should do what works here and call it for noon, or compromise on 11 a.m., despite the national timing. 

What time will you commit to showing up?

Fairbanks Fight the H8 Protest, Nov. 15 at 9:30 a.m.

On Saturday November 15th, at *9:30 a.m. our time,* people in cities all around the U.S. are coming together to take a stand for equality. To date, more than 250,000 have made the pledge to take part in this national protest. Join the movement! For more information visit

The Fairbanks Protest

We are protesting in front of City Hall, located at 800 Cushman Street, at 9:30 a.m on Saturday Nov. 15. Please bring a sign and a candle and DRESS WARM. Remember to tell your friends and families - Let's get as many people out there as we can! 

We are NOT trying to be anti-church or anti-religion, and this is a peaceful protest. We are protesting for EQUAL RIGHTS for ALL, no matter the sexual orientation. Please make signs in accordance with that. Sign ideas here:

Facebook group: Protest Prop 8 in Fairbanks.

I hope that the people whose hearts are invested in this will show up despite the early time. I think the fact that we will be protesting at the same time as everyone else in the country really makes an impact.

Thanks to everyone for the emails and offers to help out!
- Kristen, Fight the H8 protest coordinator for Fairbanks

We Can Marry in Connecticut!

Same-sex couples began marrying in Connecticut today.

Connecticut does not have a residency requirement, and same-sex couples from around the country will be able to marry there. There is no effort to overturn the Connecticut law.

A lower-court judge entered a final order permitting same-sex marriage, after the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled last month that excluding same-sex couples from marriage was unconstitutional.

"Connecticut sends a message of hope and inspiration to lesbian and gay people throughout this country who simply want to be treated as equal citizens by their government," said the plaintiff's attorney.

Peg Oliveira and Jennifer Vickery were married outside New Haven City Hall less than two hours after the order. They look forward to calling each other "wife" and raising their 3-month-old baby, Willow, in a state that recognizes them as married.

Michael Miller and Ross Zachs handed out white frosted cupcakes with the letters M and R on them after marrying on the steps of West Hartford Town Hall. The crowd cheered when minister Carole MacKenzie concluded the ceremony, saying "By the authority invested in me by the state of Connecticut."

Fight the H8: Join the Impact

UPDATE: Anchorage protest is Noon at the Atwood building. Fairbanks is at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall. Check the press release for details. Thanks.

Alaska is joining the national protest against Prop 8! 

Rallies are planned in Anchorage and Fairbanks on Nov. 15 at 9:30 a.m., to coincide with the 10:30 a.m. west coast/ 1:30 p.m. east coast protests.

Many gay and lesbian couples from Alaska were married in California this summer, and many more want the option to marry. Alaskans held several No on Prop 8 fundraisers, wrote to friends and relatives in California urging them to vote No, and a few traveled there to work on the No on 8 campaign.

The passage of California's anti-gay marriage amendment is also personal to gay and lesbian Alaskans because we experienced similar votes. Gay marriages were banned in Alaska by a constitutional amendment passed in 1998 after a mean-spirited campaign by our opponents, and our fellow Alaskans voted to take away our Court-granted family employment benefits in the advisory vote of April 2007. (The benefit vote was non-binding, and the benefits remain, for now.)

Twice in the last decade, we lived through months of public debate on whether we are citizens or abominations. Twice, a majority of our neighbors and coworkers voted against our humanity. We struggled to remain positive, productive residents of a state that does not consider us 'equal under the law.'

Alaskans will protest the passage of Prop 8 on Nov. 15, in support of marriage equality and in solidarity with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities protesting at the same time all across this country. Please join us!

National Protest Against Prop 8 on Nov. 15

The birth of a new gay rights movement -- the civil rights movement of the 21st Century -- is unfolding before our eyes.

Join the Impact

If you've been watching our brothers and sisters protesting the passage of Prop 8 in California wishing that there was something you could do to help, there is: a group called Join The Impact is planning a nationwide protest against Prop 8, organizing simultaneous rallies on the steps of City Halls all over the country from Mobile, Alabama to Laramie, Wyoming on Saturday, November 15th at 10:30 a.m. PST/1:30 p.m. EST.

This protest is being held to rally against the passage of Prop 8, along with Arizona's Prop 102 and Florida's Prop 2, both of which banned gay marriage, and the Arkansas Adoption Ban, which prevents unwed couples (and therefore gay and lesbian couples) from adopting children.

Visit to find the protest nearest you. If you don't see your city listed, round up a few friends to serve as organizers, and ask the group to add it to the list. 

** No one is coordinating a protest in Alaska yet. Do you want to join this national event?**

Citing the Stonewall Riots of 1969, which marked the birth of the gay rights movement, Join The Impact urges us all to come together again to show the nation that we are "one loud voice that needs to be heard."

"It's time we come together for debate, for public recognition, and for love! Let's move as one full unit, on the same day, at the same hour, and let's show the United States of America that we too are DESERVING OF FULL EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW!"

Repeal Prop 8

Movements are visceral and popular, often borne of outrage and anger. What we are witnessing on the streets and online is a community of people who have come together to say: "These are our lives. This is our time. This is unacceptable." Organized from the bottom-up by thousands of ordinary people, this people-powered phenomenon is exponentially growing by the minute, online and offline.

This is our moment to stand strong together -- gay and straight -- and say that we refuse to accept a California where discrimination is enshrined in our state constitution. Sign the Courage Campaign's pledge to repeal Prop 8 and help restore marriage equality to California.

Thousands of Same-Sex Marriage Supporters Protest Prop 8

The backlash against California's new ban on gay and lesbian marriage intensified over the weekend, with thousands of people gathering around the state during mostly peaceful protests.

More than 3000 opponents of Proposition 8 gathered Sunday at a rally at the state Capitol as speaker after speaker exhorted them to fight to restore the right to same-sex marriage.

"This fight is not over," Elana Metz, organizer of the Sacramento rally, told the spirited crowd. "We will demand our human rights."

"I didn't see it coming," said Joe West, who traveled from San Francisco. "It was like a punch in the gut. We worked so hard to bring change in this election, and then this happens."

The weekend of protests started Friday evening when about 1,000 people gathered in San Francisco and about 2,000 people gathered in Long Beach. About 5,000 people turned out Saturday evening for a Prop. 8 protest in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, and a candlelight vigil in Laguna Beach drew about 1,000 people.

The state's largest event was held in San Diego on Saturday, with about 10,000 protesters. 

On Sunday, hundreds gathered outside Saddleback Church in Lake Forest (Orange County), an evangelical megachurch that pushed for the ban. About 400 assembled outside Oakland's Mormon Temple, forcing Highway Patrol officers to temporarily close two Highway 13 ramps to protect the marchers.

Several Prop 8 related incidents were reported. A supporter of the marriage ban carrying a plastic foam cross clashed with protesters at Palm Springs City Hall on Friday. A progressive Jewish synagogue in Sacramento that performs same-sex ceremonies was vandalized on Sunday when "Leviticus 18-3" was spray painted on the wall.

"I stood on the street corner with my family in protest of Proposition 8," said Jennifer Chadwell of Santa Maria, a small town on California's Central Coast. "We were pushed, called horrible names, got drinks poured on us, and two of our fellow protesters were threatened with knives."

"These things were all done by people claiming to want to restore family values to California."

At the Sacramento protest, the crowd covered the Capitol steps and spilled into the surrounding park. Dozens of rainbow gay pride banners waved, along with hundreds of the blue and white "Vote No on Prop. 8" signs left over from the campaign.

There were also hundreds of homemade signs, broadcasting the feelings of those left shocked and disappointed when Prop 8 passed by 52% of the vote. "Hatred is Not a Family Value," one said. "Love Will Prevail," another added. "I'm Embarrassed to be a Californian," said a third.

Back to the Courts

Opponents of the same-sex marriage ban filed a challenge to the new constitutional amendment with the California Supreme Court, arguing that the rights guaranteed by the court in a May decision overturning a 2000 same-sex marriage ban can't be overturned by a simple ballot measure.

Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an opponent of Prop. 8, expressed support for the court challenge on CNN's "Late Edition" Sunday, calling the measure's passage "unfortunate."

"But it is not the end because I think this will go back into the courts," the governor said. "It's the same as in the 1948 (California) case when blacks and whites were not allowed to marry. This falls into the same category."

The governor's position on the fate of the existing same-sex marriages aligns him with California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, who has said he believes that the state Supreme Court will uphold the existing marriages as valid. 

The 14-word constitutional amendment does not state explicitly that it would nullify same-sex marriages performed before the Nov. 4 election, although proponents say it will. Legal experts differ on this point.

Supporters of Prop. 8 argue that the legal challenges are little more than desperate attempts to overturn the will of California voters.

It's more than that, said Dennis Mangers, a former Orange County legislator who will take over next month as chief of staff to state Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.

"It's very clear we're not going to take no for an answer," said Mangers, who married his longtime partner this year. "If necessary, we'll go back to the ballot ... and give the voters of California another chance."

The Role of the Church

In Oakland, the loud and peaceful protest outside the Mormon Temple included dozens of gay and lesbian couples whose marriages are in limbo. They were focusing their anger on the church because of its endorsement of Prop. 8 and the flood of campaign donations by LDS members.

But not all churches favored Proposition 8. In Pasadena, the 4,000-member All Saints Episcopal Church announced that while it could legally no longer marry same-sex couples, it would continue to bless gay civil unions.

"It's very unfortunate and embarrassing that the (Christian religion) is in large part responsible for this act of bigotry," the Rev. Ed Bacon told reporters after his Sunday sermon.

Copyright © 2008 by Bent Alaska.